When Innocence Is Lost

Character: Erica French
Directed by: Bethany Rooney
Written by: Deborah Jones
Other cast: Roberta Maxwell, Vince Corazza
Release date: 7 April 1997
Genre: Drama
Running time: 1h 31min

Determined to raise her own child despite her lifelong dream to attend college, seventeen-year old high school senior Erica French decides against adoption. The single parent life proves to be difficult and Erica longs for Mike, the baby’s father. Her efforts to unite them and become a family backfires when Mike refuses to commit to the father role and resents Erica's commitment to attend college while she raises young Molly. However, Mike’s parents are immediately taken with their new found granddaughter and launch a custody battle, painting Erica as an unfit mother. The court case gains national attention when Erica loses custody based on the fact that she uses daycare while attending college. An appeal to the Michigan Supreme Court however, reverses the decision. The ruling becomes a symbol of victory for millions of working couples and parents who rely on quality daycare as a positive and enriching experience.